Types of Skin Cancer

Types of Skin Cancer

Melanoma

While melanoma is the least common kind of skin cancer, it is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths. It develops from an abnormal growth of the cells which produce melanin, the dark pigment in skin. When left untreated, it reaches the blood stream or lymphatic system and spreads to other parts of the body, often resulting in death. Experts estimate about 90% of melanomas are associated with severe UVR exposure and sunburns over a lifetime.

It can look like:

  • A freckle or mole that changes in size, shape or colour
  • Has irregular edges or borders
  • Is asymmetrical
  • Has a diameter > 7mm
  • Is inflamed
  • Changes in sensation
  • Oozes, bleeds or is ulcerated (a hole forms in the skin)
  • Change in pigmented skin
  • New moles growing near an existing mole.

Basal Cell Carcinoma

Basal Cell Carcinoma is the most common type of skin cancer. Basal cells usually appear on sun-exposed areas – most commonly the face and neck – but also on the trunk, arms and legs.

It can look like:

  • Firm, flesh coloured or slightly reddish bump, often with a pearly border
  • It may have small blood vessels on the surface, giving it a red colour
  • A sore or pimple-like growth that bleeds, crusts over and then reappears; any sore that does not heal within four weeks should be examined by your dermatologist
  • A small, red, scaling patch seen most often on the trunk or limbs.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma occurs on areas that have been exposed to the sun, or burned, and is particularly prevalent on chronically sun-exposed areas such as the head and neck, arm, back of the hand and leg. It can also occur on the rim of the ear and the lip—and the cancer can be more aggressive at these locations.

It can look like:

  • Thickened, red scaly bumps or like a wart-like growth
  • An open sore or crusted skin.

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